‘It’s really hard’: Quarantine takes toll on Sellery, Witte Hall dorm residents

Blackhawk Church starts ‘Adopt-a-Dorm’ project to collect snacks, cards

MADISON, Wis. — As University of Wisconsin-Madison dorm residents in Sellery and Witte halls go into their second week of quarantine, some students said it’s taking a toll.

“It’s hard. It’s really hard,” said Witte resident Kelsey Last. “I’m a very social person.”

The quarantine began suddenly and without much warning the night of Sept. 9 as part of the university’s efforts to slow the surge of COVID-19 cases among students. For the most part, dorm residents are confined inside except to get food at the nearby dining hall during designated hours.

While the rules are straightforward, the mental and physical effects aren’t as easy.

“I miss just going outside,” Last said.

“I definitely wish I could exercise more in general,” Sellery resident Jared Buchholtz said. “I’ve definitely needed to spend some time to mentally decompress every day.”

Church aims to show students they’re not alone

At Blackhawk Church on Brader Way in Middleton on Thursday evening, community members stopped by to drop off snacks and handwritten cards.

“Our hope is that as students feel alone now that they know they’re not alone,” said Michael Knapstad, pastor of College Age Ministry & Young Adults. “I asked, ‘What do you need?’ They said, ‘Honestly, we need snacks.’”

It may be simple, but Knapstad and fellow church members hope the Adopt-a-Dorm drive can help Witte and Sellery residents through a complicated time.

At Witte, Last is waiting for coronavirus test results, concerned the virus could be spreading on her floor.

“I think locking us down kind of made it more likely I was going to get the virus,” she said, adding that she decided to stay at Witte as to not potentially infect her family members.

Buchholtz is considering getting an apartment after quarantine.

“My plans are kind of up in the air,” he said.

Students still in the dorms said they know many have left to do just that, or to go back to their family. That’s what Witte resident Zach Wilder decided to do after testing negative for COVID-19. He arrived home late Wednesday night after a week in quarantine.

“Slowly it was like losing energy, no motivation to do work,” Wilder said. “You gotta prioritize mental health.”

Wilder said he has concerns about going back to his residence hall.

“There’s definitely a lot of questions people want answered, me myself included,” he said. “I want to know what things are going to look like after this quarantine.”

Students said they wonder if it’s possible there will be another quarantine or if dorms could be shut down.

“I just wish I knew what was going to happen,” Last said.

In a time where there are no easy answers, a little comfort can go a long way. Blackhawk Church in Middleton is welcoming community members to drop off snacks again Friday from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

“Even though we’re physically distant we’re not relationally distant,” Knapstad said.

The snacks and cards will be dropped off to students later Friday afternoon.